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Race Registration Problems

Saturday, June 30, 2012
We are having some e-store problems registering for the Trail Run Sunday. If you can't get registered online, come on up anyway. We will sort things out Sunday morning. Sorry for the headache.

Sunday - Black Mountain Lodge

I think Sunday is going to be an awesome day to hang on the deck at BML.

Man Down

Okay, so now two of you have sent me Devlin Rose's article on how the Catholic men of America should "man up" and chase Catholic girls around the church parking lot. So here it is.

You also want to know what I think. And what I think is that it is time to stop shouting "Man up" at the Catholic men of America. Devlin Rose's article is just one more example of the Great Internet Nag.

Yes, it is great fun to sit at home and shout "Man up, man up", especially if you are married and have a spouse nodding sagely behind you. And I was rather touched and amused when Mark Shea discovered this blog and, thinking I was still single, told the men of Scotland to man up and pursue beautiful me. But I don't think shouts of "man up" are all that effective. They are even rude.

Men are indeed very influenced by other men. And I do believe they love and respond to challenges. And I will even go so far as to say some men can get them to do stuff by making them angry. But I think these men are men the men already know and admire, like their grandfathers, fathers, older brothers, friends, coaches, teachers and spiritual directors.

Yesterday I wrote about spiritual motherhood. Challenged by sciencegirl, I'm still working out what that would look like in practise. There is, of course, that dreaded statement, "You're not my mother" and Sting's lament "Every girl I go out with becomes my mother in the end." Motherhood in this case does not mean the quiet, loving, helpful support Stein was talking about but being an awful, clingy nag.

Men hate The Rules, but one great thing about The Rules is it thinks nagging is kryptonite. Summed up, it says "Look good, look busy, keep the tourists at a distance and let men do their own thing in their own time. You should only want the man who pursues you whole-heartedly anyway."

And I agree with this. Women should not chase men. If the men are kindly, chivalrous men, it really bothers them to have to tell women the obvious fact that they're just not into them. And women should not nag men they are not related to by blood or marriage. And, yes, I know how tempting it is. Look at me hectoring you all every day.

Of course, "you all" are girls, and I have tried to drive the male readership away, not only because I don't think they should be intruding on our girly-girl conversations but because I don't want to nag at them.

Men are not the enemy. And when they go hunting, they don't scare away their beloved deer and rabbits with shouts of "Man up, man up" because the deer and rabbits don't simply flop in their paths. Noooooo. They go where the deer and rabbits go, sit very still and wait.

Vague apologies for the hunting metaphor. But I really think we should stop thinking of Single Catholic men as sulky toddlers. Instead we should try to watch them and see them for who they really are, in the way hunters and biologists study animals in the wild. Men are who they are and not who you want them to be. And, like deer, they're beautiful, you know? Sorry to get all sentimental and stuff. But the way Catholic American men and women snipe away at each other in the comboxes is starting to get to me. Saint Edith Stein wanted nothing other than to be a Carmelite nun, but she loved men.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Check out the photo taken by Mike Repyak at the top of Zuma Lift.  Nice.  Don't forget Sunday - BBQ, Music, and Running (for thos inclined) at Black Mountain Lodge.  See you there

Made for Friendship

Now that Lucy, Jeff and I have got you all riled up, I will calm you down with some soothing thoughts borrowed from Saint Edith Stein.

By the way, thank you very much to those readers who have written in to say that they have responded to my nagging and actually read Saint Edith Stein's essays on women. One of you mentioned feeling a bit mental because of wanting to talk about her with somebody, and I now recommend throwing a "Brainy Evening" party in which everyone invited has to read the Stein essay you send them and then talk about it during the party. Of course not all the guests will actually read it, so write key quotes on cue cards and hand them out with the drinks.

Suffice it to say, Saint Edith would neither write "I blame men" nor agree to a thesis that "American [or German or Wrocławian, in her case] women lack charm." What Stein did do was examine masculinity and femininity in light of Scripture and philosophy, observing the gifts of each and the ways in which both had been warped slightly by original sin.

Stein thought that both masculinity and femininity brought necessary gifts to all of human life, including the factory floor, and emphasized that both men and women are made in the image and likeness of God. Humanity is a unity of two. And this is where it gets interesting.

Stein was not that interested in the subject of marriage, per se. When she thought of marriage, she thought in more general terms, of Man being wedded to Woman in the species called Human. Much more important to her than the husband-wife bond was the mother-child bond. In fact, she speculated that it was something erotic in the Adam-Eve relationship that brought about the Fall, which gave her posthumous orthodox editors a few seizures.

Saint Edith holds up Mary, Mother of God (and of us all) as the great model for women. And she sees that women have two choices in regards to our not inconsiderable influence on men: we can be sexy Eve and seriously mess them up, or we can be motherly Mary and lead them to Christ. Obviously she thinks we should be Mary, exercising either our biological or spiritual motherhood to help men--and other women--flourish.

This emphasis on motherhood is, I think, a very good corrective when men and women see each other as nothing more than erotic turn-ons and turn-offs. Very few of us would want to marry Jeff. Okay, but what can we do for Jeff? Jeff is a human being, our brother in Christ, a fellow Catholic, a fellow TRAD Catholic for some of us. What can we do for him?

We cannot do much, really, as long as Jeff is fixated on whether American Catholic women are worth marrying or not. One might want to ask Jeff if American Catholic women are worth befriending. After all, that is what Christian life is all about: "I call you friends," said the Lord. Friendship between men and women who are not related by ties of blood or marriage is part of the first century Christian revolution.

(I am suddenly reminded of a Jesuit classmate who met a Muslim acquaintance, a fellow student, on the streets of Toronto and made the "mistake" of addressing the Muslim student's wife, demurely tucked behind him. The Jesuit classmate felt badly for being so insensitive. He was glad the Muslim student had just pretended it hadn't happened. Auntie's snarled response to her Jesuit classmate: "This is TORONTO." She might have also said, "We are Christians.")

I hope Jeff has female friends, women who like him without feeling an overwhelming erotic attraction, for perhaps they will sit down with him, like the spiritual mothers they are, and explain why he is unlikely to attract any adult American women with his views.** If he understands that they truly desire his good, and he is grown up enough not to sulk that they don't desire him, then he might learn something and thus become more attractive to his fellow Americans.

Before I read the work of Edith Stein, which was not that long ago, I used to say that I didn't have many men friends. I would mention about B.A.'s friends, which caused some hilarity among B.A.'s friends, who are actually, although in a different way, my friends, too. (And reading this blog even though they know perfectly well it is for girls.)

I had a much narrower view of friendship than Saint Edith's, for my idea of friendship of necessity included a certain kind of emotional intimacy. But Saint Edith's thoughts on spiritual motherhood made me think about that again. It is possible to care for many men without becoming too attached to them or expecting them to behave like female friends or scandalizing anyone or annoying your husband, if you have one.

In other words, men are not just the caffeine in the coffee of life. And this reminds me of one of my men friends who occasionally addresses me as "Hen."

"Hen" is the Scottish, or maybe just Edinburgh, working-class term of endearment for neighbouring women. It is like American "honey" or "hon." Local wifies (women) address each other as "hen," and local men address local wifies as "hen" if they think they won't get into trouble. Apparently it is now a bit politically incorrect for men to call women "hen", although I can't imagine why. I certainly like being called "hen" better than "pal", which is how working-class Scottish men address each other.

Anyway, I thought for a long time how to respond to my friend's cries of "Hello, hen" or "How are you doing, hen?" because they are usually outbreaks of banter and the laws of banter demand the ability to banter back. So I listened very hard for how local women address local men and finally found a near equivalent for "hen".

"How are you doing, hen?" asked Friend, age 50.

"I'm doing fine, son," I replied.

**UPDATE: Sciencegirl brings up a good objection, so I will emphasize "the spiritual mothers they are"[already]. Spiritual motherhood is not some external-to-you spiritual-mother-costume you put on. And it is not sounding like Marmee in Little Woman or Jo in Little Men. If you're me, Spiritual Motherhood can sound like what I write here (although I don't talk to men like this). If you're Jeff's female friend, Spiritual Motherhood might indeed sound like, "Hey, Jeff, how are those Polish lessons going?"

Update 2: Erased two updates. Dear me. How exhausting. Sometimes when men leave comments I coldly rub them out. But sometimes when men leave comments I get really angry, but then feel badly later for getting really angry when this is supposed to be a friendly blog.

A Sevillian Orange Wedding in Mijas

Thursday, June 28, 2012

As our Mediterreanean weather started to heat up so did our wedding season and Todd and Teresa´s wedding in the middle of May was set in the beautiful Hacienda San Jose in Mijas and we enjoyed perfect blue skies.

We were all very excited as this was one of our first weddings of the season and we had been working with Todd and Teresa for almost a year, planning and designing their wedding day here in Spain. 

Todd and Teresa live in the States and after one flying visit to choose their wedding planners and venue we were hired :)

Carla organised and planned all the logistics and we designed a gorgeous Sevillian Orange theme with rustic influences, using burlap (hessian) table runners, wooden slabs, oranges, white and orange floral arrangements in birch planters, different jars decorated with vintage lace and raffia and an olive oil or jar of olives decorated each place setting.

We have to say though the cake stole the show created by Sweet Things By Fi and we love these photos of the star of the show from Jeremy Standley, very whimsical :)

Our thanks also go to Fiestasol for their wonderful catering and our congratulations to Todd and Teresa.


Poppets, my hair stood on end. And I have a lot of hair, so you can just imagine what that looked like. Read this well-written article by "Lucy Simmonds" on Then read what Jeff in Sacramento wrote just beneath it. Do not tear your eyes away from the response by Jeff in Sacramento because I was profoundly moved by the testimony of Jeff in Sacramento and am going to write about it.

Go read. Then come back and read my thoughts below.

There are many reasons why men do not marry, and the comment stream is full of men saying what they are. The biggie is the absolute heartbreak of divorce, which is usually initiated by women, and the resultant loss of property, income and even children. That's what they say, so I'm not going to argue with them on that. I don't really enjoy arguing with men. There is no fun in arguing with a man you're not going to sleep with afterwards. Oh dear. Did I type that out loud?

But my principal thought, while reading Lucy's "I blame men" essay, is that the men she describes simply haven't fallen deeply in love with anyone yet. Nobody expects Western women to marry men we don't love. Well, I don't expect Western men to marry women they don't love. One might think out of sheer sexual frustration Catholic men might just pick the nicest girls they know and make the best of it, but it seems that they're not usually that sexually frustrated after all. Men, too, love love. Well, Keats was a man, so we shouldn't be surprised.

In Lucy's essay, Catholic American Manhood stands in the dock. All eyes are upon him. Lucy, the District Attorney (for the trial takes place in the USA), has accused him. We are the jury. Kerry Cronin (whom I know personally, a very sweet woman) has given her evidence. And now Jeff in Sacramento, counsel for the defense, steps before the bench and says "Is it not true that American women lack charm?"

Sensation in court.

One of the things about being happily married is that I can listen to Jeff in Sacramento without having ten thousand fits. Jeff in Sacramento could go on all day long about what he doesn't like about American Catholic women today and I wouldn't turn a hair. Even if he wound up by saying "And that goes for Canadian women, too, since I can't see much of a difference", I would merely nod and say, "Thank you, Jeff, for putting that so plainly." It's not my ego on the line. It's Lucy's. It's yours. So I will proceed cautiously.

I am on Lucy's side. And I am on Jeff's side. I am on the side of all authentic Catholic Singles and other Singles of Good Will. Fundamentally, Lucy and Jeff are on the same side, too. The war between the sexes is evidence of the Fall, not part of the Gospel message. In Christ there is no man or woman: this isn't some cockamanie argument for wimminpriests--it asserts the UNITY of Man and Woman in Christ.

"I blame men," says Lucy, and I cannot imagine a phrase more likely to lose her the sympathy of male readers. I used to blame men for stuff, too, and in fact my publisher at Novalis was a bit taken aback at some of the things I had to say about some men. But I figured out long ago that if you are Single and love men and want to marry one eventually, it is a very bad idea to sound like a Lesbian separatist. In fact, men are so battered and beaten up nowadays, the smartest thing a man-loving woman can do is tell men how marvellous they are. It is like rain falling on a wilted plant.

(Of course not all men are marvellous, but I am lucky in that all the men in my family are marvellous and that my husband is marvellous and we socialize only with marvellous men. If you're male and you're invited to my house for supper twice, you're marvellous. It's official. I should publish my guest list so that women can study it keenly.)

Another thing women should do is stop thinking men are anything like their schoolteachers. Our schoolteachers told us that if we studied hard and seized opportunities, we could be anything we wanted and could be the First Woman Blah-Blah-Blah and they would be proud of us. In fact they were already proud of us. Heavens, I can hear the words echoing from the past: "I'm so proud of you, girls!" But in general men do not give a tinker's damn about what women's grade are or what we do for a living. They usually don't care. Pretty face beats Harvard degree. Radiant smile trumps making partner. This is not to say that men think Harvard degree and making partner useless in a woman. These are just the cherries on the cake. B.A. did not marry me because I write well. But if I sell an article, he just happens to mention it to everybody.

And Lucy's schoolteachers would have loved her essay. It's well-written. It's thoughtful. It's honest, funny, and true. It sparked 47 comments. But it did not get her what she most deeply wants, and I heartily congratulate her on using a pseudonym.
However, all is not lost, because there is Jeff in Sacramento to tell her How to Get Traditional Catholic Men. Apparently the way to Get Traditional Catholic Men is to be charming.

I know a lot of Traditional Catholic Men*, and therefore I take Jeff's testimony quite seriously. But I also suspect that the Filipina and Polish women who marry ordinary white, non-Polish American guys do so in part because they are sick of the hyper-machismo of both the Philippines and Poland.

Women in hyper-macho cultures have it underscored to them every day and in every way that they are women, and they learn that they cannot take on men the way men take on men. And therefore they develop the feminine wiles men say they hate when they realize they are feminine wiles. If they don't know they are feminine wiles, men call them charm. And I bet you the Filipina and Polish women Jeff in Sacramento talks about turn them on instinctively the minute their American husbands get out of line.

Charm looks very nice, and indeed it is great fun to be charming. But underneath lies a not-so-pretty realism, the understanding that men are different and you cannot be 100% honest with them because they are men. Do you remember that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Toula's mother and aunt snow her father into thinking he had come up with a solution to a problem?

In some ways that was absolutely horrifying. But that's charm. And that's life. If you think it is absolutely terrible ever to be disingenuous with men, then you wipe off that lipstick, missy, because your lips ain't that colour neither.

Thanks to Ashley for bringing the article to my attention!

*Update: In this context I mean The-man-is-the-head-of-the-household-my-wife-shouldn't-have-to-work guys, not guys who prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. These include neo-con guys. In fact, they are usually neo-con guys. Sorry for any confusion.

P.S. Here's a photo of Auntie being charming. The smile is real. The cigarette is fake. The lipstick is Russian Red by MAC.

Trail Reports

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
In addition to getting some good comments on the Argentine North Trail, I have had a few questions about the Trail Run Sunday. Mostly, they have been about the route above the top of Pali. The course will head to the West Wall Saddle and then straight up the Cornice Run ridge line to Snowplume Refuge. There is no trail between the top of Pali and Snowplume, cross country travel only. I encourage all you runners to come join us Sunday. I suspect that if you are not a runner, you might be pretty good at listening to music, eating BBQ, and drinking beer. Join me with the band High Five Sunday. This event has something for everyone.

Colorado Fires

Yesterday afternoon as I was writing in my blog that Colorado sure could use some rain showers, the Waldo Canyon Fire in and near Colorado Springs was blowing up. The videos I saw on the news last night were heart wrenching.  I sent emails to a couple of friends that I thought were in the evacuation area.  In fact, they were and had already been evacuated.  Tough times.  All of us at The Basin are thinking about the folks that have been evacuated and/or impacted by all of the Colorado fires. We have special thoughts for the firefighters and other people trying to manage this crisis. One of the friends I emailed in Colorado Spring is a firefighter.  He was on the Treasure Fire near Leadville while his family was evacuating their house.

Last night at The Basin we had a little shower. Right now we are having a fairly decent rain. The forecast for the mountains shows an increasing chance of rain. Let's hope Mother Nature can give us some help very soon.  Send some good juju to all those in need right now.

Griz Ridge - Cornice Run Walk

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Had an enjoyable kind of "meeting afternoon" today.  In preparation for July 1's Trail Race, Leigh and I went for a bit of a walk up Grizzly Ridge to the top of Pali.  We headed to the West Wall saddle and were headed up the Cornice Run when we were chased off by lightning.  I think about 12 drops of rain fell.  While A-Basin is greening up nicely, as a state Colorado sure could use a few soakers.

tuesday shoesday

i. love. you.

vegan shoes by

Summer 2012 Issue Cover Sneak Peek

We couldn't wait to share this sneak peek of the cover of our amazing new Summer 2012 issue!! It's so beautiful and we hope that you love it as much as we do. Look for the Summer 2012 issue on newsstands and in the hands of stylish brides everywhere July through September!

Visit the Weddings Unveiled Website
Follow Weddings Unveiled on Twitter
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Styling and photography: Brooke Thomas. Photographed on location at Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan, VA. Hair and makeup: Samantha A. Smith. Fashion assistant: Terri Ireland. Ivory Mikado ball gown with accentuated cinched waist, beaded crossover straps and chapel train, $1,595 by Jim Hjelm Blush. 14 karat white gold engagement style ring containing a center round brilliant cut diamond accented by a cushion shaped diamond halo and a split style diamond mounting, available at Diamonds Direct SouthPark, price upon request. House of Lavande Vintage 1950s green Florenza bracelet, $748.

Let Your Yes be Text?

Technology continues at its hysterical pace, and nothing can date me as much as the admission that I never sent B.A. (or, I think, anyone) a text until 2009 when he gave me his old mobile phone. I am still rather lackadaisical about texting, however, and prone to leaving this phone behind on public transport. Fortunately, my phone is endlessly forgiving, and we always get back together again in the lost property offices of Europe.

Texting makes a nonsense out of the quaint advice of The Rules that one ought not to reply to a man's phone calls right away, for fear of looking too available. Thanks to the mobile phone, we are all too available, and everyone knows it. However, texts are cheaper than actual phone calls, so those are what we are most likely to get.

I was struck by the terrible dilemma of a reader who was asked on Tuesday for a date, and she said Sunday. She received a short text on Wednesday, which had no content, just an affectionate "Hi there, hot stuff" (not actual words). She did not return this text, and then received no further communication. Because there was no further communication, she wondered if their Sunday date was still on.

Remembering a time when all telephones were connected by wires to walls, I would have assumed the Sunday date was still on. If you say on Tuesday that you will meet Sunday, then it is obvious to me that there is nothing more to confirm. Let your yes be yes--that's how I feel about it. It would have been a bit odd, in the days of wires, to tell a man on Tuesday that you'd see him on Sunday, and then have him call you up on Wednesday just to say "Hi."

But these are the days of wireless, and men are more spoiled than ever. By the 1990s most young men assumed that most young women who would be seen with them would also sleep with them, and nowadays most young men seem to assume that most young women who would be seen with them will answer all their text messages. Technology, no less than the sexual revolution, has radically changed social communications AGAIN.

Well, we aunties must stay on top of these things, so I'm glad that this has been brought to my attention. I have given the matter some thought, and I think the wisest thing to do is to answer first texts (at least) from suitors the day you get them, but ignore all those that come in after 8 PM until the following morning.

Why 8 PM? The idea is to cloak your evening engagements (or lack thereof) in some mystery. If you rapidly answer messages from 8 PM to midnight, you might give the impression that you are moping at home with nothing better to do than exchange texts with him. This works against the impression that you are a busy, exciting woman with a fulfilling life, from which only an ambitious and attractive man with serious intentions could distract you.

However, I believe you must answer texts from suitors in a timely manner, and not simply ignore them, because men these days have a horror of being perceived as stalkers, and if you don't answer their first texts, they might not send you second attempts.

This does not mean answering every random follow-up thought or answering all messages ASAP. The flip side of modern men worrying about being perceived as stalkerish is modern men's rapid slide into satiation and boredom.

One feels sorry for men sometimes. (Bless their little hearts.) They demand more and more, and then when they get it too soon (even if not before they demand) and too much (even if not more than they demanded), they get all twitchy and irritated, and they don't know why. Young men are bad at expressing how they feel because they so often don't know how they feel, let alone why. And thus we have to do their emotional thinking for them. They can't help it, poor sweets; they just have lower EQs.

It is our duty, therefore, our responsibility to masculine fraility, not to allow them to become bored with us. It is one reason, by the way, why after marriage we must spend money--no matter how much husbands complain--on new hairstyles and new shoes and new clothes and alternate long periods of domestic tranquility with shouts about the state of the garage.

So when it comes to texts, I recommend answering their first texts in a text conversation in a businesslike way but not after 8 PM, if it is merely "Hiya, hot stuff" and not "I'll be there at 9."

Married women, of course, must answer all their husbands' texts ASAP. Women should band together to create a culture in which a man thinks the only way to get a woman to be really super nice to him is to marry her, and married women should do our bit by being demonstratively nicer to our husbands after the wedding than we were before it. This, however, does not preclude the buying of new shoes, etc., for the reason I mention. It is not nice to allow your husband to become bored.

Update: I am swotting away at Polish, and it appears that poet Wyslawa Szymborska agrees with me: "Piękna jest taka pewność, ale niepewność piękniejsza."

"Perhaps to a point," says Father Bernard Lonergan from heaven.

Not Much Snow Left

Monday, June 25, 2012
It really is summer up here.  There are just a few small patches of snow left.  On my recents jaunts around the hill I have bumped into both deer and mountain goats.  Very nice.

Alisha starring in "Cabaret"

In years past I've mentioned my young pal Alisha, who is a fantastic singer, dancer and gosh-darn-it Nice Catholic Single Girl. I love her to pieces and the clip of her singing "Defying Gravity" I've put up below always makes me cry. Something to do with being a Catholic artist...sob...sniffle. There's more recent performances on Youtube, too.

Anyway, I don't do adverts, but if you are in Montreal or near Montreal (like in Vermont! Or Boston! Or Toronto!) I urge you to see Alisha in Cabaret. She's just gotten a rave review in the Montreal Gazette.

Maybe some of you have read about her already in the Catholic Register. I'll add a clip of her dancing, too. Nobody I know can sing and dance like Alisha. She's simply amazing.



Man, I wish I were in Montreal this week. But that is certainly a new look for you, Alisha!

This Is Not About Finding Husbands

I fear I've been neglecting Serious Singles of late.

As you know, I mentally think of Singles as Searching Singles, Singles who don't want to be Single but Married, and Serious Singles, Singles who enjoy being Single, prefer celibacy and look forward to a long life of single blessedness.

The second group is usually more tranquil than the first, which is one reason why I don't think of them as often. However, it is wrong to neglect them completely. For one thing, they are often good role models for happy living of the Single life. And for another, they are irritated by the idea that there is something wrong with them for just enjoying being Single. They deserve support, encouragement and references to Saint Paul.

During one homily I've heard, a diocesan vocations director, a priest, complained about the various married people who had looked at him with big pitying eyes and said, "It's such a shame you can't get married." He didn't like feeling pitied, and he thought their attitude cheapened his celibacy and devalued his priesthood. He actually liked celibacy and never wanted to get married, but he found it very hard to convince these happy married people of this.

(Happy people are often unimaginative about happiness. Happy married people think everyone who isn't married must be miserable, and happy priests thinks every young man should think about the priesthood, and happy Catholics pity Protestants, and happy writers encourage young men at parties to write their first novel before they are 25 so as to get maximum publicity.)

I received an email from a reader working in some remote spot who just wanted permission to stay home and not have to go out and find a husband. There was
no-one eligible in town, and when people in town, eyes glistening with sympathy, asked her if she had found anyone, she would point out that there was no-one in town for her to find. And the townspeople would think about this and conclude that she was right. I cheerfully gave her permission just to stay home.

Even Searching Single girls can stay home and veg if that's what you want to do. My now husband found me because I spent quite a lot of time blogging and writing funny stories. I literally did not have to leave my room. And when I did leave my room, it was to visit readers in the UK, not to buy clothes and meet cute new boys, which led one of my best friends to conclude I didn't really want to get married, "and that's okay."

Listen, girls, if God wants you to get married, you'll get married. Don't go to that stupid party if you really don't want to go.

By the way, I'm talking to girls here. Searching Single Guys should be out there meeting girls. It's okay for Searching Single girls to slump in front of the TV and feel bad because they aren't wildly popular, but it's not okay for Searching Single guys. Most women make daily efforts to look more attractive; most of us, for example, put on lipstick. So it is not really all that much to ask when we ask Searching Single men to improve whatever it is that needs improving and get back out there. Girls like manly guys. Getting back out there is manly. And if you really, really hate "out there," think about marrying your slavishly devoted secretary.

But back to Serious Singles. Being married to a relatively young and healthy guy, it will probably be a long time before I am Single again. I hope so because I am rather fond of B.A., and it would suck if he just went and died on me. But trying to see life from a Serious Single perspective, I can see how good life can be when you make all the decisions and there is nobody there to tell you you can't have a pony or a pot-bellied pig or a pug. (By the way, I finally have a pet. It is a sour dough starter named Herman. Every day I get to mix Herman, and he eats only once every four days.)

For me, trying to imagine myself as a Serious Single, the most important factors in my life would be family and friends. Not all Serious Singles would agree, of course, as some are rather hermit-like, and for some much more important are work and prayer. But I would be conscious that the two great temptations for Serious Singles (and Singles in general really) are (A) becoming isolated and (B) doing everything for everybody out of fear that if I don't somebody won't like me.

Family and friends would thus be very important, both for company and for more-or-less unconditional love. I would be lucky in that I already have lots of Serious Single friends, and really the hard part would be convincing nervous confirmed bachelor friends that I wasn't merely hunting down Husband Number 3.

This blog, like my book, has never been about finding husbands. It has always been about appreciating and living the Single life as happily as possible, and the Single life includes friendships and dodgy old dating, which is why I write about them so much. But I honestly don't think it is a woman's job to go out and find a husband. I think it is a man's job to go out and find a wife. And therefore I am never going to write a book called "How to Find a Catholic Husband" even though my own Catholic husband would love the money it would bring in. Ka-ching!

From A Lift Mechanic's View

Sunday, June 24, 2012

This is the way a Lift Mechanic sees The Basin.  Check out the views from inside the Black Mountain Express motor room.

It's Hot Down There

Saturday, June 23, 2012
I know it is hot down there in the big city.  Just got an email from a friend that said it was 106 F in her yard.  OK, right now it is 78 F in the base area at A-Basin.  You guys need a break and I have the answer.  Come on up July 1 for music, food, drink, and some cool weather.  If you are a runner, do the race.  If you are not a runner come on up and really have fun.

Buy/Write Catholic Literature Instead

I spent a few hours yesterday reading writing magazine for women called Mlexia, and it mentioned that having your books mentioned on a popular blog was a very good thing for sales. I think this is quite true; most of my American and all of my British and Irish opportunities to discuss Single life in person were provided by readers of this blog. I am thus both very grateful to readers of my blog and aware of the advertising power of a blog.

That is, by the way, why this blog does not have ads. And it is also why I am a bit reluctant to mention a work of pornographic fiction that is flying off the bookshelves. However, I suspect it is going to keep flying off the bookshelves whether or not I write about it, so I will say what I think and just not mention the title.

This book has been haunting me a bit since the Postcard from Hell alluded to it. The writer of the Postcard from Hell has made the classic, if rather immature, male error of assuming that pornography is true and "that's what women want."

The plot of the bestselling pornographic book is, as I understand it, about a college-educated woman who agrees to become a sex-slave for money, and is generally treated badly and loves it, or something. Other women have already suggested that the real draw to such a novel is the promise that one will be able to live in luxury and not have to work at a really boring job or with a really rhymes-with-itchy boss just to pay the rent. As my mother did not say, it's as easy to fantasize about a rich man as a poor one.

I don't think that sexual fantasy is a good idea for women trying to remain chaste in a sex-obsessed world. But apparently 10 million people in the sex-obsessed world have already bought the book under discussion. I know this because there is an advert across various Edinburgh city busses proclaiming this. "Get on board," it invited.

"No, thanks," I said.

I had just been in a bookshop and seen that although parts two and three of the three novel series were still around, part one was no longer to be seen on the shelf. Sold out. So perhaps the women also waiting for the bus had this dirty book squirreled away in their handbags for a sexy read later. Heavens, I wonder if women are talking about it in book groups. Heavens.

Actually, though, the more I think about it, the more tempted I am to read it, just to see what all the fuss is about. And this is an impulse to be squashed because in the battle for civilization, a woman has to start with herself. It's harder to demand that men treat women well, and that women avoid men who treat them badly, and that people not use pornography, if one lolls on the coach thrilling to pornographic stories in which men treat women badly. One rather gives up the moral high ground.

This sort of novel may be more "literary" than the tripe that fills shelf after shelf in big box bookstores, but it is not new. Both Anais Nin and Anne Rice wrote erotic fiction, as I know because a non-Christian feminist friend, horrified that I had never read any, gave me their works as an exercise in feminist consciousness raising. Nin's relatively human creations were one thing, but all I can say about Rice is "Golly." I had to force myself to finish reading Volume 2, and it made me so ill I just never got around to Volume 3. I never believed in Rice's brief return to Catholicism because if she really had become a good Catholic, she would have yanked her poison from circulation.

Bestselling fiction spawns whole industries. I think it is safe to say that the brilliance and popularity of Georgette Heyer's novels created the enormous Regency Romance market. And I hear cadences from the much superior Bridget Jones novels in the wildly successful Shopoholic books. Harry Potter made the children's fiction industry more than safe for wizards and witchcraft. So I hate to think what will happen in the wake of F*fty Sh*des of Sh*meless P*rn*gr*phy.

Catholic writers like me wail about trying to write Catholic fiction in a sex-obsessed world, and both Catholic writers and Catholic publishers know that our only hope lies in Catholics actually buying Catholic fiction. But as not all pious Catholics are actually good at writing fiction, we rely not only on Catholics buying Catholic books but on writers of good books being faithful Catholics.* Finding faithful Catholics who are also good writers can be freaking difficult.

In Toronto, girls on the literary scene I recognized as having gone to my convent school visibly shrank with embarrassment when I mentioned it. If you really, really, really want to be accepted by the artistic community, and you already have a few Doubts, thanks to lousy catechesis and bad church art, and you have a crush on Jewish-Wiccan Poetry Boy, it can be easy to shelve all that Catholic stuff or just be as quiet as a little mouse about it. Islam can be cool, but Catholicism? Ha, ha, ha.

Well, I am not sure how we can go about getting great-lapsed-Catholic-writers back into the fold, other than stubbornly identifying as Catholics ourselves and hoping something good happens after they slink away from us in embarrassed loathing.** But I know how we can help those writers who are Catholics, and it is by darn well buying their/our books. Catholic bloggers should mention Catholic literature on their blogs. Catholics should start organizing book groups. I am sure most ladies in the Catholic Women's League read books. Well, why not read a few Catholic books and have a Book Night?

Here are a few living Catholic literary writers to get you started:

John McNicholl (children's/teens' fiction) The Young Chesterton Chronicles.

Fiorella di Maria Nash (fiction) Poor Banished Children

Michael O'Brien (fiction) The Father's Tale (and many others)

Piers Paul Read (fiction) The Death of a Pope (and many others)

David Adam Richards (fiction) The Lost Highway (and many others)

Of these, the ones most likely to have been heard of by non-Catholics are Piers Paul Read and David Adam Richards, so if you already belong to a book group, you might like to suggest one of their books. In so doing, you might create a safe opportunity to talk about the role of faith in life and literature.

Yesterday I came across a children's book called We are British. The Sikh, Muslim and Jewish children in this book mentioned their religious practises. The other children--the daughters of a Central European couple, the Scottish boys, the Welsh boy--did not. The girls focussed on their family's vegan practises. The Scottish boys mentioned Rangers football. There was not a single mention of Christianity and Christian practises in this book, even though the state religion of Britain, its history and 70% of England (more for Northern Ireland) is Christian. It is time Christian Britons stopped pretending Christianity is something embarrassing and secret, like an ingrown toenail.

*By faithful, I do not mean saintly. Many of the best Catholic writers of the 20th century had terribly irregular personal lives, with which they struggled as Catholics. Hypocrisy is a particular burden for writers who, although they so often write fiction, desire nothing more than to capture and express something true. And it is true that many people who loath sexual sin, and know sexual sin is sexual sin, nevertheless commit sexual sins.

**Nobody hates a happy Catholic more than a lapsed Catholic. Nobody. I'd rather chat with a drunk and bigoted Rangers fan than with a lapsed Catholic intellectual/artist. However, you never know what the Holy Spirit might do through you, so don't be afraid of cheerfully proclaiming that there's nothing in Catholicism to recover from, etc.

Why Argentine North Fork?

Friday, June 22, 2012
The bridge is completely finished and the trail is 100% ready to go.  Some of you ask about its name, The Argentine North Fork Trail.  The front side of the ski area is in the North Fork of the Snake River Basin.  The back side is in the Snake River Basin which includes connections to the old town of Argentine and Argentine Pass.  Dating back to at least the mining days there has been some type of trail connecting the two sides of the mountain.  There are hints of an old trail on Upper Lenawee and along the base of the East Wall.  At some point, I believe in the 40's, there was a jeep road built up to the Summit.  The old topo maps identify that old road as the Argentine North Fork Trail. In the 60's and 70's that jeep road was substantially improved and realigned to become our current summer mountain service road.  The new hiking trail somewhat aligns with the old trail and jeep road.  There are portions of the new trail directly on the old jeep road.  Anyway, we looked at the new trail as not really new, but a realigned and improved version of the historic Argentine North Fork Trail.

ISSE ~ Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia

Mark your calendars for August 20th - 21st, 2012 and be a part of the Inspire Smart Success Experience that has the wedding industry world talking! Join us for ISSE Virginia, Maryland and DC August 21-22 to learn how to grow a successful business from the top experts in the wedding industry, offering their insights and actionable tools on how to get published, how to get on TV, how to market yourself online and everything else you need for success!

We’ll kick off these business-changing 2 days with a fabulous Welcome Party at The Inn at Westwood Farm where you can meet and mingle with your fellow wedding pros and the celebrity speakers as we enjoy delicious food, inspire-tinis and the venue’s gorgeous grounds. The next day we’ll meet up at The Inn at Willow Grove for educational seminars with our guest speakers that will change the way you think about and approach your business.

Learn how to build your brand and grow your business with tricks of the trade, smart business advice and actionable tools designed just for you – the wedding industry entrepreneur. Not only will you learn from established and respected wedding industry insiders, but you’ll do it in a fun environment! Forget the boring snooze-fest seminar – with ISS you get an amped up Welcome Party to mingle and make new friends followed by a day of relaxed and educational seminars where you get to be a part of the conversation.

Register online today for this fantastic event!! Space is limited and the past two events have sold out!!


August 20th:
ISS Experience Welcome Party 7:00pm-10:00pm

August 21st:
ISS Experience Day 8:30am-6:00pm

Welcome Party Location:
The Inn at Westwood Farm
12256 Montford Rd (Rte 616)
Orange, VA 22960

Experience Location:
The Inn at Willow Grove
14079 Plantation Way
Orange, Virginia 22960

Warsaw Boy(s)

Thursday, June 21, 2012
Yesterday's post was a tad depressing, no? Such revelations can lead to serious disenchantment with the caffeine in the cappuccino of life and inspire the question, "Why do we keep men around again?"

My preferred cure for resentment of Men in General is to silently say "Bless his little heart" (in a non-patronizing way) at the sight or approach of every man that day. All that blessing works like a charm at lightening one's own heart, and I suspect it prevents wrinkles, too. It definitely eliminates the "I Hate Men" vibes, just about the only vibes men get without having to have them explained to them in words of one syllable. (Bless their little hearts!)

But it is also helpful to think about what it is we really like about men and will miss when a tragic sex-linked epidemic kills most of them and we have to keep the few remaining for procreative purposes. One thing is that they are often very, very funny. Intentionally funny, I mean.

I was thinking this yesterday because, HUZZAH!, at last I have access to Youtube and can look up all the Polish pop video links I've been sent. One of these videos is called "Nie masz cwaniaka ade Warszawiaka," which roughly translates as "There is no crook like an inhabitant of Warsaw." It is utterly hilarious. The actual song can be summed up as "Yeah, so what? We'll kick your butt."

Central European pop musicians who use American rap music, tics and visual cues are often very funny whether they like it or not, and as evidence I link here to Fler's "Neue Deutsche Welle", which is absolutely hilarious in its thuggish lack of self-awareness. (The cherry on the cake is that Falco was not German but, quite famously, Austrian.) However, the brilliant thing about Projekt Warszawiak's video is that it makes fun of Warsaw men as much as it celebrates them. My native Toronto is just as hated by the rest of Canada as Warsaw is by the rest of Poland, so I wish someone back home would come up with something similar. That would be AWESOME.

Hmm. It occurs to me that if you know absolutely nothing about Poland, you will not find it as funny as I do. However, see what you think. The actor portrays all kinds of men, and at first I was disappointed that the one Warsaw character he didn't play was a priest. However, after watching the video several times, I suspect the man in the grey wool jacket in the green cafeteria might be a priest. (I suspect I've been in that cafeteria. I am relatively sure I've seen that old lady before, too.) Meanwhile, I find the construction worker rather fetching, which is no doubt a telltale sign of aging. (By the way, there's one gay culture reference and one man in a pink bunny suit surrounded by lingerie models. You've been told in advance, so nobody have a heart attack on me.)

I looooove the fact that the sensitive left-wing intellectual has to take his girlfriend's little sister along to the mall. Don't ask me what the Jewish guy is doing with the skinheads. I think the inference is that they would be beating him up, were they not momentarily united in their defense of Warsaw.

Reader Update: Long-time reader Aussie Girl in Australia, who used to be Aussie Girl in London, is now Aussie Girl in New Zealand because she upped and got married. So best wishes to Aussie Girl because we at "Seraphic Singles" are kind and sympathetic to married women for obvious reasons.

Source Update: Local Pole suggests that's not a priest but a mathematician. Apparently that's what Polish mathematicians look like. Gracious.

Music, BBQ, BMX, Trail Race

I have been kind of slow getting back to the blog after a vacation.  Caught a Michael Franti concert at Red Rocks, had a sweet run through Westwater, and rode the bike a fair bit in Summit County.

We really have two stories for July 1.

Doing what we do best, we are throwing a party a Black Mountain Lodge.  High Five will be playing their music and Chef Rybak and crew will be serving up their famous BBQ.  Come on up and enjoy the view.  Despite the state being so dry, the upper mountain is green and beautiful.  You can ride the lift or walk the trail.

The second part of the story is the Trail Run.  The Mid-Mountain Division run to BML on the Argentine North Fork Trail is ideal for any runner.  The Summit Division going past BML to the top of Pali, on to the summit, and finishing at BML is for hard core athletes only.  Don't let its relatively short 4.6 mile distance lull you into thinking it is easy.  This is a steep, gnarly course.  There aren't many of you that can do it without walking.  (OK, that is a challenge).

Whatever you do, run, party, or both, I hope to see you July 1.  We are going to have some fun.

Modern Trousseau New York ~ 1-Day Sample Sale!!

Don't miss the spectacular 1-Day Sample Sale this Saturday at Modern Trousseau in New York on June 23rd, 2012 from 10am-6pm! You'll save up to 75% on a selection of couture bridal gown samples and extra showroom stock.

No appointment is neccessary, so be sure to get there early for the best selections! For more information, call 843.722.6300 or visit

Modern Trousseau New York
1-Day Sample Sale!!
Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
552 7th Avenue, Suite 301
New York, NY 10018

Modern Trousseau Charleston ~ 1-Day Sample Sale!!

Don't miss the spectacular 1-Day Sample Sale this Saturday at Modern Trousseau in Charleston, SC on June 23rd, 2012 from 10am-5pm! You'll save up to 75% on a selection of couture bridal gown samples and extra showroom stock.

No appointment is neccessary, so be sure to get there early for the best selections! For more information, call 843.722.6300 or visit

Modern Trousseau Charleston
1-Day Sample Sale!!
Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
418 King Street
Charleston, SC